How to Save on Back-to-School Shopping (According to a High School Junior)

August 10, 2017

If you're like most of us here at The Dime, it's been, errr, 10+ (OK, maybe more like 15+) years since the glorious days of high school. Lucky for us, we had David, a high school junior from the Denver area, helping us out in the office this summer—and he graciously agreed to write a piece for ye ol' Dimers! So, sit back, kick up your feet, and read on for David's tips on back-to-school shopping.


Summer is coming to an end for us high schoolers, and we’re slowly awaiting the impending doom we all know as the “First Day of School.” With only a few glorious weeks of summer vaca left, it’s time for us to prepare for the return of the school year (*sigh*)…and all of the goods we’ll need to get through it. Although going back to school is quite the summer bummer, it’s something that will inevitably come, and going back with the latest fashion trends, supplies, and technology can ease some of the suffering. These great things don’t have to break the bank, though.  

Pre-shopping categories

First things first: if you’re an “early bird” like me, you might already have a list of everything you want this school year. The best thing to do before you go on a back-to-school shopping -spree is to categorize your list into three sections: things you need (like, really need), things you want, and the things you already have. Before making a final decision on any items, ask yourself the category it fits into. In my family, our list looks like this:




School clothes





New shoes

Expensive backpack

New phone


School supplies from last year

Reusable items


After you categorize your shopping list and ditch the things that don’t fit into one of the three categories, it’s time to shop!

Online shopping

The perks of online shopping are pretty obvious. Anything and everything can be purchased online, and the best part? Back-to-school deals, deals, deals!  The key to online shopping is knowing where to look, and while a brick-and-mortar store might be out of the specific supplies you need, you can almost always find them online (and often times for less). You can also order clothes and shoes online so you can be sure you’re getting the best back-to-school fashion at unbeatable prices. Take advantage of email subscriptions from your fave stores; they’ll send you “online exclusive” deals, and keep you up-to-date on the latest fashion trends they’re stocking.

Couponing, and the beautiful art of saving money!

If you’re like my mom, you want to get the best price possible on every item you need. As a result, my family uses coupons for just about everything we buy which usually lands us some pretty sweet savings (#motherknowsbest after all). Getting into the habit of “couponing” can definitely save a lot of money, especially for back-to-school shopping. When my mom takes my siblings and me shopping, she doesn’t let us get everything we want, and she usually limits us to things that are on our supply lists. She shops for the bulk of our school supplies in the $1-$6 bins/aisles) so we can save money for things we need that are more specific to our tastes, such as backpacks and clothes. That  savings also means there’s extra cash on hand for fun, non-school-related stuff, so a big high five to all those super-saving moms out there (and, of course, MY mom)!

Now that you’ve heard my #BASIC ideas on how to save on back-to-school shopping, what are some ways you think you can save even more? Leave a comment below!

Oh, and happy school year, kids! (Not really.)